It was six years ago, and Rider was speaking off camera to a regular guest—a Canadian bank CEO—about his career aspiration to build his own video production company. The CEO (who Rider, out of respect, doesn’t want to name) said he should do something for them.
“I thought he was joking,” says Rider, 28. But a few days later he got a call from an employee at the bank asking him to do an internal communication video.
“I spent every penny they gave me on it, plus my own money, to make it the best video they’ve ever seen,” says Rider.
That little piece of work was enough for Rider to say he’d produced a video for a big company. He used the experience to build up more clients.
In 2012, Rider and fellow Ryerson University graduate Corey Peck founded Toronto-based Media One Creative, with a goal of providing a wide range of videos for big brands.
The company, which describes itself as a digital video agency and creative production house, has tripled its growth year-over-year since it started, and has more than 50 clients, including iconic brands such as Nike, SAP and Tim Hortons. More than 90% of its business is referrals, Rider says. Clients are from across North America as well as parts of Europe.
“Here we are, this little Toronto shop, doing international work for some of the biggest brands,” Rider says. “My goal is to be the go-to video company in North America.”
Its team has grown from Rider and Peck to more than 100 people across North America including animators, audio engineers and photography directors. His chief financial officer is his mother, who Rider says is not only good with the books, but keeps him from overspending.
“She keeps me honest,” Rider says with a laugh. “She has been mothering me since I was a little kid and now she’s mothering me in my own company, making sure I don’t spend too much.”
Jokes aside, Rider attributes much of the company’s successto its ability to help brands drive sales, which is backed by data analytics.
“It’s not just about the splash this makes, the number of likes or shares. It’s about how many sales you have driven,” Rider says.
It’s not just corporate clients that have helped Media One Creative grow. One of its first clients was the YMCA of Greater Toronto. Rider and his crew have shot numerous videos with the non-profit organization, helping drive signups and community awareness.
“I love the way they work with us,” says Celecia Partap, senior manager, communication and brand strategy at the YMCA of Greater Toronto. “They are able to work with a variety of people in different circumstances.”
Partap says she wanted to work with Media One Creative from the start because she saw the team of young talent looking to make a name for themselves, not unlike the youth her organization supports.
“What has been really amazing to watch is how they’ve progressed and how smart they are,” Partap says of Media One Creative and Rider. “Despite the fact that he’s working with big names like Nike, he hasn’t lost his way. He has always stayed true to himself and true to us. He genuinely cares about our organization.”
Rider believes his company’s next leg of growth will be driven by a personalized video product the company has brought to market, which allows marketers to customize videos to individuals. Rider says the product is being piloted by Choice Hotels to help drive its loyalty program and find new customers, as well as internally at BMO.
“It’s one-to-one marketing, but with millions of people. This is what marketers are looking for,” Rider says. “It’s also critical to our growth internationally.”
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